I read an article this morning that spoke about victims of gun violence being "in the wrong place at the wrong time" and it kinda made my skin crawl. Because here's the thing about almost everyone I've photographed during the course of this project: they, by and large, had every right to be where they were and to be doing what they were doing when their incident took place. (And even the ones that were maybe engaged in questionable activities didn't deserve to die or be permanently maimed for their sins.)
They were in schools and churches, at parties, walking down the street, sleeping in their beds, suffering from depression... and going to the movies.
The shooting at the movie theater in Aurora, CO - which took the lives of 12 people, wounded 70 more, and left scores of witnesses forever scarred - was five years ago today. I don't know what I can say that hasn't been said by so many others, except to share the words of Sandy Phillips... whose daughter Jessica was among those killed:
“If people only knew… if they only knew what it’s like to be in our shoes for even a day, this problem would be gone."
Gun violence isn't about "Chicago". It isn't about good guys vs bad guys and it isn't a case of "I don't need to worry about this because my kids go to a 'good' school". It's about what happens when ordinary people are living their lives and doing everyday things in a country with over 300 million guns... and a money-driven lobby that uses fear as a tool to put even more guns in the hands of even more people.